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Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

In 1620, a boat filled with more than 100 Pilgrims set sailed away from England across the Atlantic in search for a new land. They landed on present day Massachusetts and began a new life. The Pilgrims knew farming, and with the help of locals Indians, they even learned how to grow various crops. To celebrate their first bountiful harvest and to repay the gratitude of the locals, they organized a huge harvest celebration which is now known as the first Thanksgiving. Today Thanksgiving is one of America’s most celebrated holidays. The busiest travel day of the year is the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Below are some the staple recipes for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Conversion cheat sheet
1 cup = 236.6 milliliters
1 pound= 453.5 grams
1 US teaspoon = 5 milliliters
1 US tablespoon = 14.7 milliliters

Thanksgiving Turkey

Did you know that turkeys only became part of the Thanksgiving menu, in 1857, thanks to Alexander Hamilton, who stated that no “Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.”

Preparation time: 30 mins.

Cook time: 4 hours.


  • 1 turkey (any size)
  • 2 cups (475ml) of broth or water
  • melted unsalted butter for basting (optional)


About an hour before roasting, take the turkey out of the fridge. Remove any packaging and giblets. Set the turkey breast-side up on the roasting rack.

Rub it with some salt and pepper before putting it in the oven. You can also rub it with butter or oil for a richer flavor and browner skin. Stuff with stuffing (see next recipe).

Pour two cups of broth or water into the roasting pan. Place the turkey in the oven and turn down the heat to 175°C.

The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 13 minutes per pound (0.45 kg) (i.e. a 16-pound (7.25kg) turkey should take about 3.5 hours to cook). Factors like brining the bird, stuffing the turkey and trussing the legs affect the cooking time. Start checking the temperature of your turkey halfway through the scheduled cooking to gauge how fast it’s cooking.

Check the turkey every 45 minutes. Shield the breast meat with foil toward the end of cooking if it starts getting too browned.

To make sure your turkey is fully cooked, you need to check the temperature in three places: the breast, the outer thigh and the inside thigh. In every case, the meat should be at least 75°C. If any place is under that temperature, put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Note: 1 cup = 236.588 milliliters

Bread and Celery Stuffing

Preparation time: 20 mins.

Cook time: 40 mins.


  • 450 g (1 pound) loaf sliced white bread
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 chopped stalks celery
  • 2 teaspoons poultry
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth


Let bread slices air dry for 1 to 2 hours, then cut into cubes.

In a Dutch oven, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until soft. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth; mix well.

Chill, and use as a stuffing for turkey, or bake in a buttered casserole dish at 175 degrees C for 30 to 40 minutes.

Tip: If stuffing your turkey, estimate one cup of stuffing for each pound of turkey, i.e. a 10-pound turkey will get 10 cups of stuffing. Cook any extra stuffing on the side. Be careful not to overstuff your turkey as this could cause it to become dried out.

Creamy Pumpkin Pie


  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 unbaked pastry shell (9-inch)


Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices, and flour in a medium mixing bowl.

Add eggs and mix well. Add evaporated milk, water, and vanilla and mix well.

Pour into pastry-lined pie pan.

Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 175°C and bake about 35 minutes longer, or until center is set.

Pie Crust


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

Place all ingredients in 9 inch pie pan. Stir together with fork. Pat mixture into bottom and up the sides of the pan. Poke holes in bottom and side of crust.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light brown. Use as directed in favorite pie recipe above.

Buon Appetito!


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Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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  1. The 30 Best Ideas for Traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner – Best Round Up Recipe Collections

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